New Work by Eddie Colla, Hugh Leeman, and D Young V at 111 Minna Gallery

by Admin on 03/21/2014

Eddie Colla, Hugh Leeman, and D Young V are perhaps best known to local audiences as artists whose art might be more often seen in the streets than in the galleries. In their unnamed group show at 111 Minna Gallery the artworks created specifically for the gallery show became apparent were more extensions, reinterpretations, or intended derivations of previous projects the artists have accomplished on the street. Including collaborative and solitary created 2- and 3-dimensional works, this group exhibition is in many ways a transformation of their vibrant, highly expressive artworks, illustrating a marked shift from their public art practice. In this way, the pervading ideas surrounding the show explore relationships between site specificity or placement, and its motivation, intention, and meaning.

“I wanted to go back to the basics for this show… For me, going back to this was a way of stepping away from much of what I’ve been doing for the last five years artistically,” D Young V says in a recent interview with Empty Kingdom. In one installation at 111 Minna of 40 pen drawings, it seemed apparent how the vibrant artistic energy and themes and ideals seen in D Young V’s massive, colorful wheat pastes that expressed such sublimity in its massive imagery, thus appropriate for the large concrete pillars of highway overpasses and tunnels, were thoughtfully distilled and reinterpreted. Almost the same in height and scale, D Young V’s 40 pen drawings displayed in a grid-like form is like a segmentation of the wheat paste into more meditative pieces, and is a more thoughtful complement to the smooth, white, interior gallery walls. Says Young: “Working with the Micron 08 pen is therapeutic. Its takes hours upon hours to do my fill ins, when you look closely to the paper you can see every single individual pen mark. I like this textured effect, but more importantly I enjoy the zen of its creation.”

For Eddie Colla it seems the need to shift intention or meaning in work made for the street or gallery space isn’t a major concern. Interestingly, he has said he isolates it to only one major factor.”I don’t really alter the message. Actually I don’t really think about this issue much. The only real difference between street stuff and gallery stuff is time. With Gallery stuff you have a lot more time,” he says in a recent interview with Hi-Furctose. Yet within that important factor, the imperative nature of art on the street versus more time for thought and execution in the gallery, undoubtedly affects its message and intent. Appropriately, the artist’s new works don’t reveal, at least on the surface, of a dramatic shift from his work seen in the public sphere in comparison to Young. Colla’s large canvases  however, do seem more refined with their extensive layers  and his intricate portraits illustrate a highly detailed stencil work. Overt social justice commentary for which he is well known in public lies just below the surface, and, especially in the new Escutcheon series, includes thought-provoking examinations into the relationship of medium and message.

Local artist Hugh Leeman may be best known in San Francisco for his early portraiture series that captured the lives of people from its inner city streets. Now, whether it is his painting Envisioning the Self in Hindsight, I Decipher Experience, or Examine the Fear Leeman seems to have now turned his attention inward, contemplating his own portrait and self. The collection of phantasmagorical-looking figurative works at 111 Minna, formed with white ectoplasm-like lines that express a highly visceral dynamism lie in stark contrast to the figure which it fashions who sits or stands perfectly still. It seems as if the figures are simply observing the world around them and the real stuff of worth lies inside. Leeman himself reflects upon this change: “I have in the past identified myself or been identified as being a very prolific street artist. I did this because I felt what I was communicating was something I felt intensely passionate about and that it was well to be voiced on the street and any burden I faced or perceived burden faced by society because of my vandalism was well worth the cost,” he says. “However with my current work, I just don’t currently believe that or feel that it would be anything more than self promotion of my artwork as a means of personal, external gain.” It seems, thus Leeman is now looking inward rather than to any other direction, be it the galleries or streets of San Francisco.

New Work by Eddie Colla, Hugh Leeman, and D Young V will be at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street through March 29, 2014